Thursday, 13 January 2011

My paper world

I am often stroking pieces of paper. I do not have a paper fetish or psychological paper dependency, but I have worked in the publishing industry for more years than I care to count, and you certainly learn a thing or two regarding paper.
Not to mention finding yourself caressing paper and guessing the gsm. I have become quite an expert at this. (Sad but true.)Particularly when an existing paper contract is due to expire, which has been the case in my current position.
At present I deal with the production side of six magazines. That’s six different pagination sizes, five different paper weights, three different publication sizes, and six different schedules. That’s a lot of paper. (I would like to point out we are environmentally friendly too, we have standards and regulations and we frequently recycle.)
And who would have thought you could have so many conversations about paper? Paper Mills, paper prices, paper delivery times, paper service level agreements and paper contracts.
My life recently has been overtaken by paper!
I am organising and attending meetings with paper suppliers. I am comparing costs and colour and weight of paper. I am discussing reels and tonnage and storage. I am compiling spreadsheets with paper deadlines and usage. I am opening packages containing different paper samples.
Now, call me old fashioned but I would rather read and flick through a magazine than turn on a computer and gaze at something on the screen. I still love walking into a newsagents and choosing which magazine to purchase. I like to sit on the train and loose myself in light hearted celebrity gossip and the latest fashion. I like to curl up on the brown leather sofa, with a mug of hot chocolate, and read creative ideas for the home. I like to sit at the oak dining table, eating cheese and biscuits, with the knowledge of a photography inspired magazine.
I want to step away from the computer and step into brightly coloured pages with text and images!
Of course I am aware it's a changing world. Something my company is also keen to address. Our newly designed, flag ship magazine title, is now available on line. With the touch of a button you can zoom into an article or advertisement, or with the touch of another button you can skip an article, and turn the page to the next informative read. That's progress for you!
But personally speaking, I would rather choose hard copy than digital. I want to turn pages with my hands. I want to pop a magazine in my bag or on my brown leather stool to continue reading later.
I guess you could say, I want to continue stroking paper and guessing gsms.
I arranged a paper tender meeting the other day, with a possible potential new paper supplier, and our interim production manager. We had tea and biscuits and important matters to discuss.
Half way through the meeting, after note taking and biscuit crunching, I looked around and suppressed a giggle (I was supposed to be acting professional after all). I tried not to giggle as I realised I was not alone with my paper appreciation and concerns. For there were three grown adults sitting around a table, and each and everyone of us were stroking pieces of paper, with intense and focused looks.
And long may it continue, in my little paper world.